There are not that many diamond mines in the world. In fact, it’s estimated that there are around 50 viable mines in operation, and around 30 that are inactive. However, with increasing demand for diamonds not only as jewelry, but for scientific investment and industrial use, that is changing. Many nations including Brazil, Canada, India, and China are undertaking examinations of their natural resources in partnership with companies such as De Beers, Rio Tinto, ALROSA and other diamond mining experts.
The top five mines produce millions of carats each year and demand is only increasing with American gemstone shoppers spending 90 percent of all money spent on diamonds.
- The Jubilee Diamond Mine in Russia is estimated to contain approximately 153 million carats of recoverable diamonds, plus an estimated additional 1 million carats still underground. Established in 1986, the open pit mine is experiencing an increase in production as higher grade ore is accessed.
- Udachny in Russia was discovered in 1955 with the production of 10 million carats of diamonds per year. The pit is mined to a depth of roughly 630 meters, numbering it among the deepest mines in the world. It is also expected to be the largest underground diamond mine in Russia by 2019.
- Mir was originally decommissioned in 2001, after being discovered the same year as Udachny. Underground operations were resumed in 2009, and the mine is expected to produce 1 million carats of stones in 2014. The mine just recently produced a 78.02 carat diamond, which is estimated to be worth in excess of $600 thousand in its current state.
- The Argyle Mine in western Australia is owned and operated by Rio Tinto. In addition to being one of the few sources of pink and other colored diamonds, it is estimated to contain 140 million total carats. The mine has been in operation since 1983 and has a peak production of 20 million carats per year. It is the home of the rarest and most coveted pink and red diamonds. The annual diamond tenders are considered to be one of the premier events of the diamond industry.
- The Catoca Diamond Mine is a joint venture mine between Angola’s state owned diamond company, rushes ALROSA, China, and Odebrecht. The mine accounts for 70 percent of Angola’s diamond output, and may contain 130 million carats of diamonds that are recoverable at the current level of technology.
As technology advances, and more nations decide to open diamond exploration and mining, one might think that diamonds will become more available. However, gem quality diamonds are exceedingly rare. The total output of the world’s 54 largest diamond mines is expected to be a total of 135.5 million carats for 2015, with three new mines beginning production this year.
On the other hand, Kimberly Diamonds has decided to cease operations at the Ellendale mine in Australia. The closure of Ellendale, known for producing half of the fancy yellow diamonds in the world each year, is expected to drive yellow diamond prices for some time to come.
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For more information on diamond mines see the link below:
- The High Cost of Mining Colored Diamonds
- 3 Key Insights Driving Fancy Colored Diamonds Investments
- Pink Diamonds Show Largest Growth of Colored Diamonds
- Investing in Natural Pink Diamonds: What You Need to Know